With the technological advancements around sensors and software, it is possible to set up remote patient patient monitoring systems. But it must be backed by a messaging infrastructure which is realtime and tested for mission-critical applications. This case study depicts how Hearo achieved these requirements with PubNub’s realtime data streaming network.

This article was originally published in PubNub.

Use Case: Remote Patient Monitoring

Problem Statement

Problem Statement

Every remote patient monitoring system relies on an underlying data infrastructure to orchestrate the chat and message exchange between patients and their care teams, and scaling up this component is a developer’s nightmare.

Realization Approach

Realization Approach

With a real-time data streaming platform, it is possible to integrate thousands of apps and IoT sensor endpoints to seamlessly interconnect all the components of a remote patient monitoring system and scale the offering to facilitate multi-party chat and sensor data gathering workflows.

Solution Space

Solution Space

Relying on a robust real-time infrastructure saves thousands of hours of developer effort while building such mission critical healthcare applications, and costs less compared to setting up and optimizing a self hosted infrastructure.

Meet Hearo

Operating out of the Springfield area, Hearo is dedicated to helping patients live more independently. To accomplish this, they provide healthcare agencies, assisted living facilities, and in-home care organizations with remote patient monitoring platforms.

Hearo uses both sensors and software to create these remote patient support platforms. This allows their customers to remotely track things like a patient’s sleep habits, medical adherence, and vital signs. They also enable patients to speak 24/7 with their remote care team through voice and video. 

Unlike others in the remote healthcare space, Hearo considers themselves to be provider-first. Their technology allows home care providers to create their own virtual support teams so that they don’t have to outsource. When patients need help, they can talk to their direct care providers to receive personalized treatment, rather than strangers who aren’t familiar with their conditions and needs. 

“Independence is one of our core tenets,” said Myke Bates, Co-Founder and CTO at Hearo. “Our goal is to enable our customers so that they can create the support systems they need to so that their patients can have as much control as possible over their own health and wellness.”

To provide their customers with the most reliable, real-time, and feature-rich remote patient monitoring, Hearo turned to PubNub. 

With PubNub, Hearo:

  • Has the flexibility to evolve their product so they can empower caregivers to help patients live more independently and control their own health and wellness. 
  • Has the diverse set of developer tools they need to ensure they can scale their product offering and platform in the years to come, no matter how their business or customer needs change. 
  • Can interconnect every part of their IoT platform, which ensures care teams have real-time visibility into their patients to provide the best possible remote care. 
  • Can quickly and easily roll out crucial features without capability roadblocks—which has saved them 80+ hours in development time. 

Releasing New Features Overnight

Alongside being both a co-founder and the CTO, Bates was also the sole developer for the first year of Hearo. He was responsible for building the platform from the ground up. 

When he started building out Hearo, he mostly worked with SignalR to handle the messaging components. “Being the first-class citizen in the .NET world, it made all the sense to use SignalR,” said Bates. But when Bates started to develop a new core feature of the Hearo platform, he ran into some problems.

In preparation for a tradeshow, Bates was trying to roll out the ability to let customers and patients send messages to multiple or specific users, groups, channels, and locations. “I just kept hitting walls,” said Bates. “And I thought if there’s a limit here then we’re definitely going to keep having limitations in the future.”

Frantically searching for a solution, Bates remembered PubNub—who had been recommended in developer communities he’s a part of. “When I started building in PubNub, I was shocked by the extent of the client libraries,” said Bates. “That’s how I knew PubNub would be up to the task.”

Bates was able to roll out his messaging feature overnight because complex, multi-party messaging workflows are built right into PubNub. His messaging was up and running right before the trade show and he saved 80+ hours of development time. “And since then, quite literally every new feature and function we add to Hearo now uses PubNub,” said Bates. “PubNub makes our platform possible.”

Every new feature and function we add to Hearo now uses PubNub. PubNub makes our platform possible.

Powering a Connected, Flexible, and Real-time IoT Platform

Following their initial success, Hearo now relies on PubNub to signal and connect every part of their IoT platform. “It’s nice to know that we don’t have to worry about what languages or platforms to use, because I know PubNub will support the tools we choose,” said Bates. 

A core tenet of Hearo’s platform is utilizing data from multiple sensors. Their customers use a variety of sensors, like door, bed, and fridge sensors to track patient movement, sleep, and eating habits in real time. 

Hearo relies on PubNub to ensure that millions of sensor events are accurately captured and pushed through their rules engine that triggers an appropriate response—like turning on lights or sending an alert to a nurse.

Before PubNub, if these sensors lost internet or server connectivity, all data would be lost. As a result, alerts might not be sent and patients might not get the attention or support they need.

But now, Hearo can retain all sensor data even if their systems go offline. When systems come back online, PubNub immediately re-establishes the connection and pushes this stored data.  “PubNub has given us a fail safe so our customers don’t have to worry about losing critical information,” said Bates. 

Patients and their care teams receive alerts as well as chat, voice, and video messages through Hearo’s desktop, iOS, and Android apps. By relying on PubNub to ensure proper signaling is taking place, Hearo can now ensure all alerts, calls, and messages are in real time and being sent to the right users, channels, and locations. “With PubNub, our entire platform is immediate and in real time so our customers are always getting the information they need to best help their patients,” said Bates. 

Additionally, because of PubNub’s library of SDKs, Hearo can confidently add on new sensors, client platforms, and hardware because they know that PubNub will support any tech stack they develop. “Moving forward, we have the flexibility to build our platform based off of our needs and our clients’ needs—not around restrictions,” said Bates. 

Future-proofing and Scaling with PubNub

Over the past six months, interest in Hearo has spiked to new heights. With the onset of COVID-19, the importance and value of remote healthcare has become very clear. As a result, Hearo has seen an influx of usage from current customers and interest from prospective ones. 

In light of this increased traffic and interest from COVID-19, Bates has been focused on the future of Hearo’s product offering—what new features to add and how to scale it for a larger customer base and higher usage rates. “The last thing I want to worry about on top of all our product roadmapping is the actual logistics of how we’re going to scale the messaging component of our platform,” said Bates. 

As Hearo’s customer base continues to expand, Bates is confident that PubNub will be key to ensuring smooth growth for the company. “I know I don’t have to worry about our future product infrastructure with PubNub—if anything, I’m excited. ” said Bates. “We’re just scratching the surface of what we can achieve.”

“…We have the flexibility to build our platform based off of our needs and our clients’ needs—not around restrictions”

Increasing Patient Independence

Ultimately, with PubNub, Hearo has been better equipped to achieve their mission: increasing patient independence. 

By using PubNub, Hearo has allowed their customers to remotely care for and support patients through real-time monitoring, alerts, notifications, and communication. Now, Hearo’s customers have the visibility to confidently give their patients more independence over their life and health. 

“What we’re seeing is that customers have started to remove overnight staff,” said Bates, which helps their customers save on overhead costs. 

“And this also has huge implications for patients,” said Bates. “There’s no longer somebody in their house, sitting on their couch, when they’re sleeping. That alone is a massive win. And in all sincerity we can only power this capability because of PubNub.”

About the author 

Radiostud.io Staff

Showcasing and curating a knowledge base of tech use cases from across the web.

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